Stranded Passengers at Midland Airport Angry with Airline

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - A medical emergency mid-flight forces a plane to make a stop here in Midland Sunday night.

But it's what happened once passengers were on the ground that has them wanting answers from United Airlines.

Tired and angry. That's how passengers of United flight 1742 felt during their overnight ordeal at Midland International Airport.

"No vouchers for hotels or anything. Nothing," passenger Renee Shropshire said. "This is just the worst nightmare ever."

"They have really not bothered with us at all," another passenger, Alison Quinlivan, said. "They've really inconvenienced us."

This all began around 9:20 Sunday night when a male passenger had a medical problem mid-air.

The Boeing 737 made an emergency stop here in Midland and the man was rushed to the hospital.

Meanwhile, passenger Renee Shropshire said they waited on the tarmac for over an hour and a half.

"The pilot came on and said we were just waiting for paperwork and we would be back in the air and on our way," Shropshire said.

But that didn't happen. Instead, flyers got off the plane. Quinlivan said the gate to the plane was then closed.

"People who needed medications were not allowed back on the plane to get their medications," Quinlivan said. "We got no information, no update."

People spread out on the floor and in chairs. Parents with young children were getting desperate.

Both women said they waited three to four hours before they were told anything.

Finally, an answer: It was a mechanical problem.

"When they landed, they landed heavy, because of the extra fuel and everything and it caused some issues with the brakes," Airport Director Marv Esterly said.

After waiting even longer, Quinlivan and her husband looked up United's policies for incidents like this.

She said they asked for food, water and blankets for the passengers but she got this answer.

"They've said 'You've given us a long enough list of things to do. What do you want? Food, water or blankets and pillows? We cant do everything,'" Quinlivan said.

After more than six hours, pizza and water were delivered to the airport.

"Had it not been for this couple, we wouldn't have had anything to eat up until this point," Shropshire said.

These flyers say they're furious with how they were treated.

"Not one single United representative has come out and spoken to us," Shropshire said. "Not one, since the pilot and his crew left the aircraft. We're confined to a certain area of the airport. We cannot go past the restrooms which is outrageous."

Now the passengers plan on taking action.

"We would like to file a personal grievance with the airline ," Shropshire said. "They should have opted to feed us instead of us having to go and research online to find out hat they're obligated to do for us."

"There will be a lot of complaints from a lot of passengers," Quinlivan said.

The passengers left Midland around 1:20 p.m. Monday afternoon. The male passenger who was taken to the hospital is in critical condition.